Since taking it over in May, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (better known as CUESA) has been steadily improving and growing the Jack London Square Farmers Market in Oakland. It’s been in existence since 1989, under the guidance another operator, but is now getting the CUESA treatment, adding educational programs, more vendors, and chef demos.
“I think the biggest differentiator is the addition of a lot of educational programming. We’ve added programming to every single Sunday, including demos, cooking classes, comparative analysis food tastings,” said CUESA director Marcy Coburn. “We've added the CUESAness which is engaging and interactive.” That also includes much more participation from East Bay chefs, many of whom are already frequent shoppers at the market; CUESA hopes to build up the market with sellers who appeal to the many restaurants and chefs in the community.
And after a summer of making changes, it’s time for the market’s “launch party,” in the form of a harvest festival. “It’s our community celebration and coming out party,” Coburn told Eater. It kicks off with a demo from Cosecha chef/owner Dominica Rice, who will prepare butternut squash mole, and includes activities like apple pressing, a pie contest, and pumpkin decorating. Check out the full list of activities here.
Coburn says the market is still a work in progress, and that it’s really the community that is driving the market. “Oakland has really established itself culinarily, and has great urban farmers and connections to the rural food system, so we’re really excited to build this into the market that this community and the Bay Area wants and needs.”
All activities at the festival are free, and the farmers market will run alongside it ; the market runs year round, every Sunday from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.
- CUESA to Overtake Jack London Square Farmers Market [ESF]
- CUESA Harvest Festival [Official Site]